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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Nikon micro-Nikkor AFS 40mm f/2.8 Review

General
The micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8 AFS is one among many micro (macro, whatever; it's the same thing) lens options for someone looking to purchase such a lens. It's a DX lens, which means it's small, light, and cheap. How does it perform? My take on this might surprise you, so read on.


Pros/Cons
+ small, light, cheap. Just like DX lenses should be
+ great optical performance, no flaws to speak of.
+ 1:1 macro reproduction ratio (but read on)


- ridiculously short working distance. At 1:1 magnification, the front element is 1"/2.5cm or so from the subject!
- No VR. Understandable perhaps, but compared to, say, the micro-Nikkor 85mm f/3.5 VR, it's still a minus.
- ergonomics in general (focus ring, autofocus, etc.) are not very helpful for true macro work.


Optically it's very, very good. Its shortcomings are related to other issues


Friday, February 27, 2015

Photography and Affect: A New Theory of Vision

My most recent book, Photography and Affect: A New Theory of Vision, is now available (click on the link above or the image below to be taken to Amazon's download page)

As the title reveals, with this book I attempt to offer a new way of approaching photography - a new “philosophy of photography” - that allows more fundamental photographic aspects to emerge; aspects related to meaning, composition, and expression.


The book consists of three parts: The first part is theoretical, and deals with photography as a form of art; it offers answers regarding our motivation to take photos; why do we take photos, why do we use the tools that we use, and how do we share and view the photos we have taken? Understanding our various motivations is crucial in order to understand how to achieve our goals.

The second part is methodological and offers concrete approaches, tools, and styles of composition that will help you understand photography – as well as your personal aims and motivation behind taking a picture – in greater depth.

The third part is philosophical and attempts to offer an original perspective on photography and meaning. Here, aspects related to affect, emotions, feelings and mood will be covered, and, hopefully, you will acquire fresh perspectives and ideas that you can apply on your own photos.

Here are two random pages of what you can find inside this book:






Saturday, February 21, 2015

Shooting Film in 2015: The Bare Minimum, Scope and Advice

Background

Alright, this is the article you have been waiting for, after reading my recent film camera reviews. As I mentioned here, there was a specific reason for my sudden film adventure. Today I will reveal it.

Some time ago, I had a discussion with a friend of mine (also a professional photographer) about film. The main questions were a) Is film still worth it in 2015 for pro use, and b) do you miss anything by not shooting film. Our common conclusions were, respectively: no; yes.

There is something thoroughly rewarding in shooting and developing your own film.
(Note: all photos in this article are shot with Kodak Tmax 100 and processed with Ilford ID 11)
To some of you this might sound self-contradictory, but it is actually not. Rather, it is plain and simple: No, film is not practical (and hence not worth it) for professional use*. But there are important lessons to be learned by shooting film

*at least for our kind of use: occasions, portraiture, low-light live music; for landscape photographers using medium or even large format, that's another story.


Today's Menu: Shooting and Developing Film, a 2015 Guide

I was challenged by my friend to try something for a few weeks: shoot film for my non-professional photos. At the same time (that was my own idea), I thought to do it in the cheapest, simplest way possible and present my findings to all of you. You see, since we can make the separation between pro/critical work and learning/hobby purposes, the dynamics regarding film change. 

Let's get this out of the way: with digital,  in order to get a top-quality 24MP color "scan" you just need a D3300 (cost less than $500, brand new, with a decent lens). With film, check out the price on this thing!



But - and this is the good news - if you want to learn the lessons film has to offer, you can get by with much, much less. Here is the bare minimum you need to shoot and develop your own black & white 35mm film (I assume you already have a Nikon digital SLR and 1 FX-compatible lens, plus some plastic bottles lying around, to store the chemicals):